NCAA – Non-Conference Review – ACC

We’ll be looking at non-conference schedules/results and what they mean for the NCAA Tournament hopes of Big Seven conference teams for the next month or so. I’ll also give my revised predictions for each of the big conferences as well as some snapshots of the smaller conferences as well. Bubble watch and RPI brackets will return in October as well.

Let’s start with the ACC, which begins league play on Thursday.  Numbers in parentheses are RPI after Sunday’s matches.

Best uRPI Non-Conference Win (top uRPI win in parentheses)

3 – Wake Forest (Portland)
9 – Florida State (Florida)
11 – Boston College (Ohio State)
13 – Virginia (Penn State)
23 – North Carolina (West Virginia)
31 – Virginia Tech (Charlotte)
35 – Notre Dame (Illinois)
38 – Syracuse (Colgate)
53 – Duke (Texas A&M)
56 – Maryland (Navy)
56 – NC State (Navy)
105 – Miami (FL) (Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
111 – Pittsburgh (Bucknell)
190 – Clemson (Davidson)

Average uRPI Non-Conference Win

79.6 – Florida State
91.5 – Maryland
95.2 – North Carolina
101.0 – Virginia
103.3 – Boston College
116.8 – Wake Forest
134.3 – Duke
142.0 – Syracuse
160.8 – Virginia Tech
182.4 – NC State
188.5 – Notre Dame
190.3 – Pittsburgh
216.0 – Miami (FL)
228.5 – Clemson

(14) Boston College

I’m pretty bullish on Boston College’s profile.  I don’t think Ohio State’s going to linger where they are in the RPI right now, but I do suspect both Hofstra and Boston University will move up in the rankings as they start to feast on league foes.  The UConn loss probably isn’t going to look as bad either, as I think the Huskies are going to be formidable in the AAC.  A later match against a hopeless Central Connecticut State team could stilt things in a bad direction, but I think .500 in the league will see them comfortably back in the Big Dance.  A few more wins might see them in the national seed mix.

(63) Clemson

There’s not much meat on the bones of Clemson’s profile.  The best thing you can say about the Tigers right now is that they don’t have any bad losses on their profile.  The bad news is they don’t have wins of note.  Furman isn’t going to provide as much weight as thought in all likelihood, while draws against Auburn and South Florida don’t look like meaning much right now.  The Tigers need a lot of wins in ACC play to get close to the NCAA Tournament.  I wouldn’t count on it.

(34) Duke

The win over Texas A&M might be a life saver in the end, though the draw with West Virginia also will likely be a plus for them come Selection Monday.  No bad losses either.  I think the Blue Devils have a lot of upside, though their middling number right now might put them on a tougher path to a high national seed.  Without question, they’ll need a lot of wins in league play, but they’ve got the potential to do it if they pull it all together.

(8) Florida State

The Seminoles look to be sitting pretty right now.  The win over Florida on the road is probably going to look very good come season’s end, while the draw with Oklahoma State also has significant upside.  Oregon State being overrated and UCF being underrated in the RPI right now will likely balance out, meaning FSU has a pretty good shot at a #1 seed if they keep winning.  Recoveries from Auburn and Oklahoma, two more vanquished non-conference foes, would also help their cause.

(19) Maryland

It’s a mixed bag for the Terps right now.  That they’re #19 in the RPI right now with their current win profile has to be a bit of relief, but looking at the club’s they’ve beaten, there’s a whole lot of downside there.  In particular, Maryland really has to root for Villanova and Navy to do well, though I think the loss to Santa Clara will look better (if that’s possible) if the Broncos do well in WCC play.  A national seed isn’t out of the question, but I really think the Terps need to net some serious wins in league play.

(132) Miami (FL)

Yeah, the Hurricanes’ profile is THAT BAD.  It takes a certain degree of creampuff loaded schedule to not be close to the uRPI Top 100 despite being 5-0-0.  Their average uRPI with their wins is below two hundred, meaning the Canes are going to need to put together a seriously good ACC season to get a sniff of the NCAA Tournament.  Impossible?  No.  Highly unlikely?  Probably.

(39) NC State

A lot really depends on how Navy does the rest of the year.  If they can keep their RPI high, the Wolfpack should really benefit, especially considering there’s very little else on their schedule worth noting right now.  There isn’t a bad loss on there either, which should help them out as well.  In all reality though, the Wolfpack probably don’t have enough of a cushion in the RPI right now to survive a league season that leaves them out of the ACC Tournament.  Needless to say, the Wolfpack are not amongst the favorites to finish in the Top Eight in the ACC this year.

(3) North Carolina

Wins over Santa Clara, UCLA, and West Virginia probably means the Tar Heels can pass ‘Go’ and collect their #1 seed come November.  Naturally that assumes UNC can keep it up in ACC play, but their start of the season has given them a lot more cushion for error in case they slip up.  I’m going to wager that they aren’t going to need that cushion though if their early season form holds up.

(36) Notre Dame

Do you trust your eyes or do you trust the computers?  The latter aren’t exactly impressed with the Irish, who have one win over a team that looks likely to be on the bubble (Illinois) and three over clubs languishing in the RPI, though I think all three have upside to bump their ranking up by season’s end.  The former would seem to indicate UND has a chance for big things, of course.  Barring a collapse of the highest order, I don’t think the Irish are going to miss out on the Big Dance, but they can’t afford a let down if they want a high national seed or even any national seed, really.

(122) Pittsburgh

Wins over Central Michigan and Toledo would usually make for a solid profile, but the Panthers look like they’ve hit both in down seasons.  The draw with Robert Morris will probably look a lot worse than the defeat to Ohio State come season’s end.  Really, it comes down to the Panthers needing a good season in the ACC to get remotely close to the bubble.  Considering they’re tipped to be in a fight to avoid the wooden spoon, it doesn’t look likely.

(54) Syracuse

Syracuse already looks like a very interesting case.  The losses to West Virginia and UConn probably aren’t going to do too much to damage the Orange’s profile, but they’re going to need some quality wins to rely on.  Hofstra figures to rise in the RPI, while Colgate looks like falling, so the Orange probably need an upset or two in the league to get on the bubble.  Given their early form, they probably aren’t as big as longshots as some of their ACC brethren, but they still probably face an uphill climb.

(6) Virginia

The Cavs have wins over league title contenders Santa Clara and Penn State, while the wins over Rutgers and VCU could also prove beneficial in the end.  UVA’s high ranking right now bodes pretty well for them, though it’s still early.  They’ve given themselves a little leeway as far as ACC play goes, but a top half finish in the league might be good enough for a national seed.  Of course, they’re aiming higher, and if they meet raised expectations, they could well pull in a #1 seed.

(12) Virginia Tech

The Hokies are doing very well in the RPI after a quarter of the season.  The bad news is their profile looks like it has a whole lot of downside attached to it.  I seriously doubt East Tennessee State and James Madison are going to be in the RPI Top 100 come season’s end, while Charlotte at #18 right now also isn’t going to hold.  The best result the club has is either the draw against Louisville or the win against North Texas, meaning the Hokies probably need a lot more in the league.  Still, the lack of losses means VT might be able to survive a .500 season in the ACC and make the NCAA Tournament.

(4) Wake Forest

I’m probably a little conflicted on Wake right now.  The Demon Deacons got a huge win over Portland, which could be a trump card come November, but the rest of their profile seems to have more name value than actual substance.  While Kentucky does have potential to be another good win, I’m not sure either Alabama or North Texas is going to budge significantly from their current outposts.  A key might be if Washington can turn it around.  If they can, Wake could be sitting pretty.  If they can perform in the ACC, a national seed looks like a given, and their odds of a high national seed look reasonable as well.

Preseason Prediction

1. North Carolina
2. Duke
3. Notre Dame
4. Florida State
5. Virginia
6. Wake Forest
7. Boston College
8. Maryland

9. Virginia Tech
10. Clemson
11. Syracuse
12. Miami (FL)
13. NC State
14. Pittsburgh

Post Non-Conference Prediction

1. North Carolina
2. Virginia
3. Wake Forest
4. Florida State
5. Notre Dame
6. Duke
7. Boston College
8. Maryland

9. Virginia Tech
10. Syracuse
11. Clemson
12. NC State
13. Miami (FL)
14. Pittsburgh

One thought on “NCAA – Non-Conference Review – ACC

  1. sec

    I think in the end — NCAA tournament time — Duke will be there and a real threat to make a deep run. Too many experienced scorers on that team, to stay this way.

    Virginia just has a great deal of chemistry, all over the field. The hidden gem is Colaprico, who’d be the star player if she was at BC or Maryland, or a number of other ACC programs.


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